Daily Archives: March 11, 2009

Is Open Source Saving You Money?

May be. But here is an interesting conversation I had with a guy who worked for me in the past. Recently he contacted me to suggest technical solution for something. He also said “I would like to know whether any freeware which would address this kind of requirements”. I replied him pointing to a webpage that contained a lot of commercial and open source solutions. And asked “Why are you looking for a open source? Is your customer not ready to pay for commercial software? :).” (If you read this carefully, you would notice I used freeware and open source interchangeably but that seems to be usually the perception to many anyway).

The reply to my email mentioned “The reason why we were thinking about open sources is that , We can customize open sources as per our requirement and absorb the license cost into services . Also, We can delink any technical risk which could be faced by customers. It was purely a cost benefit option in terms of customer and implementing partners.”

So the interesting observation for me is that next time a consulting firm recommends an open source solution, realize that the reason for that is not entirely the benefits of open source over a commercial solution but the fact that the consultant might be hoping to get the license piece of your allocated budget moved towards consulting service!

Interestingly in this specific case, they went with a commercial solution as they couldn’t find a similar open source alternative. Perhaps the estimated consulting cost outweighed the cost of licensing.

The intent of this post is not to mention that open source is not the right way to go but to make people realize why someone might propose going with open source solutions.

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